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From the College of Natural Sciences

Genes Evolve to Minimize Protein Production Errors

AUSTIN, Texas--Genetic evolution is strongly shaped by genes’ efforts to prevent or tolerate errors in the production of proteins, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Harvard University have found. Their study also suggests that the cost of errors in protein production may lie in the malformed proteins themselves, rather than in th...

Scientists Find New Clues to Explain Amazonian Biodiversity

AUSTIN, Texas--Ice age climate change and ancient flooding—but not barriers created by rivers—may have promoted the evolution of new insect species in the Amazon region of South America, a new study suggests. The Amazon basin is home to the richest diversity of life on earth, yet the reasons why this came to be are not well understood. A team of ...
Natural Selection May Not Produce the Best Organisms

Natural Selection May Not Produce the Best Organisms

AUSTIN, Texas—Natural selection may favor the fittest organisms around, but it doesn’t always lead to the evolution of the most optimal organisms, says a team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. Drs. Matthew Cowperthwaite and Lauren Ancel Meyers led a team that developed a new theory suggesting that traits that are easy to evolve ...

Scientists Find Missing Evolutionary Link Using Tiny Fungus Crystal

The crystal structure of a molecule from a primitive fungus has served as a time machine to show researchers more about the evolution of life from the simple to the complex.

Tree of Life Revealed for Flowering Plants

Tree of Life Revealed for Flowering Plants

AUSTIN, Texas—The evolutionary Tree of Life for flowering plants has been revealed using the largest collection of genomic data of these plants to date, report scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and University of Florida. The scientists, publishing two papers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week online, found...

Evolution of complex calls and unusual male vocal cords in túngara frogs

AUSTIN, Texas--Male tropical túngara frogs have evolved masses on their vocal cords that help them woo females with complex calls, show scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. Dr. Mike Ryan, Clark Hubbs Regents Professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Marcos Gridi-Papp, ...